Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with “fish photo” in the subject line.
San Francisco sturgeon action cranking, Keith Fraser said. Millerton spotted bass still hitting, and McClure bass on tap, Dave Hurley said. New Melones trout bite strong, John Liechty reported. Lake Success bass on a good bite, Chuck Stokke reported. Delta sturgeon bite rebounding, Steve Talmedge reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct is starting to get more play, but Central Valley striped bass fishermen are targeting San Luis Reservoir with its easy access to the shoreline. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “We are starting to sell some SpeedLures and Duo Realis jerkbaits, but the fishermen are reporting having to travel great distances along the levees to locate the schools.”
In the south aqueduct in Kern County, the flows have dropped, and the water clarity has improved. As a result, the catfish and striped bass action is on the upswing with a 25-pound lineside landed the previous week. Gitzits, blood worms or sardines are the top baits. Catfishing is best with Sonny’s Dip Bait or similar type of stink baits.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is more interest in the lake, but the water is still cold with the bass sluggish. Largemouth bass to 2.25 pounds have been taken on jigs in green pumpkin or Senkos in 25 to 35 feet in depth, and the lake has around 3 feet of visibility and 56 degrees.” The lake dropped a foot to 564.90 feet in elevation and 76 percent.
A trout plant occurred on both sides of the lake during this week, and once the water clears, the swimbait bite should improve for the larger bass.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The lake rose nearly a foot to 493.02 feet in elevation and 35 percent. A few bass are taken on plastics on the bottom, but keepers are hard to find. The bite should be solid once the water stabilizes and the temperatures rise. A trout plant occurred this week, and once the water clears, similar to Eastman, the swimbait bite should improve for the larger bass.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Trout action at Don Pedro has been good and bad depending upon the day with the reservoir releasing as much water as possible in anticipation of the melting of the heavy snowpack on the Tuolumne River watershed in the coming months.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The fishing has been up and down with the water levels falling. I trolled the lake three times this past week, and Wednesday’s trip was a great day with 12 quality rainbows landed. All fish were released on this trip including a 22-inch rainbow that fell prey to one of my custom-made spoons on leadcore line. Thursday’s trip was tough with only four fish landed and nothing big, yet all fish were released once again. Friday was better with 7 rainbows landed. I have been running my custom-made spoons on leadcore along with Rapalas on side planers, and everything is catching fish. With the falling water levels, this usually makes for a tough bite as it scatters the fish, but once the lake stabilizes, the fishing should be terrific. The water temperature is in the 53/54 degree range.”
The Kerman Bass Club held a team tournament on Saturday followed by an individual tournament, and club spokesman, Walt Lee, said, “There were 17 anglers weighing in a total of 47 bass with 8 limits.”
The upper high water ramp at Blue Oaks was open earlier in the week before being closed for a day until the water level dropped enough by Saturday morning to open the main ramp. There may still be some standing water along the roadway and in the parking areas by this ramp so caution is advised while driving to the ramp. The lake levels may rise again, and as a result, no overnight parking is permitted in the lower Blue Oaks launch ramp parking lot. Fleming Meadows and Moccasin launch ramps continue to be open.
The Highway 120 James E. Roberts Bridge is scheduled to be closed for a full week, from 5 a.m. March 20 through the morning of March 27. UPDATE: Caltrans announced March 16 that the full week closure has been delayed a week, it now begins March 27.) Following the 24/7 closure, the bridge will be closed a few additional nights for the removal of material and equipment. The $20.8 million project is scheduled for completion in November 2017, with crews soon shifting their emphasis to the structure itself, after having replaced the bridge deck this winter.
The lake has dropped 5 feet this week to 819.11 feet in elevation and 93 percent. Water releases will continue to get the lake as low as possible, but the releases must be managed slowly in order to avoid flooding in the Modesto area. The Bonds Flat Road will remain closed indefinitely as the spillway may be opened once again. Updated information on the lake’s status is available at www.donpedrolake.com.
Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan 209-586-2383; Gary Vella 209-652-7550
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Most fishing action in Kern County is at the California Aqueduct or at the small local lakes of the River Walk or Buena Vista. Few anglers are targeting Lake Isabella with the occasional crappie holding in 15 to 25 feet of water along the catfish on various prepared stink baits. The action will pick up once the water stabilizes and warms up in the coming month. The lake dropped to 49 percent.
The 28th annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby will take place April 8-10. No entries will be accepted after 7 a.m. April 7. Information and registration is available at www.kernrivervalley.com/online-registration. Campgrounds open during the derby are Boulder Gulch, Camp 9, French Gulch, Paradise Cove, Pioneer Point, and Tillie Creek Campground. To make reservations, call the Sequoia Recreation Office at 760-376-1815.
Berkley Mice Tails remain the top bait for the small local lakes of Ming and the River Walk, but the action slows within days of the plant. The upper and lower Kern River remain slow.
Call: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
A trout plant is scheduled for this week, and the swimbait bite should continue to improve. Regular contributor Larry Kerns Visalia took first place in Saturday’s Visalia Bass Club tournament with a 24.1-pound limit using swimbaits. Reaction baits are starting to work as the fish are getting more and more active. The lake dropped 8 feet to 657.85 feet in elevation and 44 percent. A trout plant is scheduled for the week of March 12.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported, “There is quite a bit of interest in the lake, especially on the weekends, and bass fishing is excellent right now with plastics and jigs. The bass are starting to spawn, and so are the crappie. The water temperatures are perfect right now.” The lake is at 632.90 feet in elevation and 55 percent. The Tule River is still at a high flow and it is difficult to fish.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Bass fishing remains excellent with reaction baits such as River2Sea Swavers, Alabama rigs, small swimbaits with an underspin head, chatterbaits or swimbaits. The water is clearing up and warming, and the bite should only continue to improve. The water releases are directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake is at 78 percent and dropping on a daily basis with over 12 feet of recession within the past week. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
The Best Bass Tournaments Mother Lode division has an event at the lake on March 18. This circuit always brings out between 75 and 100 boats.
The Merced River watershed is experiencing its wettest year on record. As a result, large volumes of water are being bypassed through the spillway of McSwain Dam. Based on these conditions, it is not feasible to undertake a trout plant at this time for the spring Trout Derby. The Merced Irrigation District is examining other opportunities – including a possible trout derby at Lake McClure – possibly later this spring and during the summer. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake that are currently under construction and slated to be open in the coming months. The Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country bike loop.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striper 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 1
The lake is releasing water down the San Joaquin River, and it dropped to 59 percent. The water is running down the San Joaquin and not the Friant-Kern Canal at the present time and it is dropping a foot per day.
Bass fishing is the best in the area with plastics on the Carolina-rig, Texas-rig, drop-shot, split-shot or dart head in both the main lake or up the river arm. A 9- to 11-pound limit is possible, and there is a small window for spinnerbaits or chatterbaits in the warmer waters of the afternoons. The best action is from 5 to 35 feet in depth. A few good fish can be found up the river arm in 10 to 15 feet of water, but the water is cold at 42 degrees near Temperance. No striped bass reported. The lake dropped 20 feet to 525.19 feet in elevation and 57 percent.
In the San Joaquin River, the Sycamore Island Pond will be open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and all state holidays. Day passes are $9 and a season pass is $85. Passes can be purchased online or at the bait shop on the property. A DFW trout plant occurred last week at both Sycamore Island on Woodward Park Ponds.
Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 0
Trout action at New Melones remains strong as the fish are moving into the creek arms as well as along the shorelines at Glory Hole Point and below the Highway 49 Bridge. Bass fishing remains a bit of a challenge as the water level continues to rise. Water temperatures remain cold, and the trout are up along the surface during the day while the bass are rising along south-facing banks in the afternoons.
John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “Trolling anglers have been successful between the day and the spillway by top-lining shallow-running plugs or heavy spoons. The trout are actively feeding on the surface with the insects and live nightcrawlers washing into the reservoir. As the water is clearing up, bank fishermen are starting to score with natural colors of trout dough bait as well as spoons in shad patterns with some flash. The coves and pockets with shallow tapering shorelines are best from the banks.”
Kokanee have yet to show, but their arrival is within weeks as trollers normally start seeking the landlocked salmon during April.
Bass fishing is best with finesse techniques with slow-moving baits as the water is still fairly cold, keeping the bass into a winter-like mode. Liechty said, “Keep an open mind and target different depths throughout the day as some fish are holding deep while others are moving into the shallows. There is an abundance of freshly flooded vegetation lining the lake, and a weedless presentation can be used to effectively cover water without hauling in grass on every cast. A Texas-rigged plastics in an excellent choices since the bullet-shaped weight pulls through grass easily. Drop-shot and Carolina-rigged plastics are also good options.”
Crappie are starting to bite, and the prime time for the slabs is just right around the corner. The crappie are moving into the coves and creek channels and are oriented to the submerged brush and vegetation. Small minnows are working best in addition to minijigs. Catfishing remains slow in the cold water, but a ball of nightcrawlers coated with scent will pick up the occasional lunker near moving water in the inlets.
New Melones continues to rise, and it has come up another 7 feet to 1,021.01 feet in elevation and 70 percent. There is a minimal amount of scattered debris floating on the surface throughout the lake, but for the most part debris has gathered on the shoreline. The water temperature is a steady 50-52 degrees. The upper ramp on the Glory Hole side and the Angels Cove ramps are open with two courtesy docks in place while Tuttletown is on the middle ramp with two courtesy docks in place.
Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith -209-581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan 209-586-2383
Pine Flat Reservoir/
Kokanee 0 Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Catfish 1 Crappie 1
Pine Flat is dropping a foot per day, and the trout and bass bite is slowing down a bit during the period of heavy water releases. A load of “better than average” rainbow trout was released into the lake during the past week, and although the number of rainbows is limited, the quality remains solid in the 16- to 18-inch range
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The Department of Fish and Wildlife put in a load of larger rainbows this past week, but the trout bite has slowed a bit with fishermen picking up 3 or 4 rainbows per boat instead of the 7 to 8 per boat within the past weeks. We have been selling a number of Needlefish, Apex lures, Speedy Shiners, and Thomas Buoyants for trollers working at depths from 4 to 5 colors of leadcore in the main lake along Zebe and Lefebre Creeks and from the Power Lines into Windy Gap. The rainbows that are being landed are quality in 16- to 18-inch range. Pine Flat remains our best option for trout fishing in the region with the high country lakes still either very cold or frozen over.”
The dropping water levels have the bass off of the bite with the fish pulling off of the shoreline and suspending. Gilbert said, “There is nothing out of the ordinary happening there right now, and most everything is on the bottom in all of our lakes right now. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs remain the top techniques for those working the bottom with the fish scattered from 5 to 35 feet in depth.”
Trout fishing from the banks in the lower Kings below the dam has been affected by the water releases, but anglers are still throwing out trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or spinners for planters. Gilbert said, “Some of the fish are of a larger grade, and the river is planted on a weekly basis.” Lures continue to be more effective in the high water since it is easier to keep from getting hung up on the bottom.
The lake is at 71 percent of capacity, and it is releasing water to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt.
Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
San Luis remains the top striper option in the Central Valley with the California Aqueduct running high and dirty along with a smaller grade of striped bass in the O’Neill Forebay. The lake is holding at 99 percent, and there are locations along the shorelines that are flooded for the first time in years. The picture perfect weather over the past weekend has brought out numbers of anglers to the shorelines at the main lake.
Alex Tran of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said, “There have been a lot of fishermen from the San Jose area heading over to the main lake to fish the shoreline at Basalt or Dinosaur Point, and we are selling lots of jumbo minnows along with pile worms and blood worms. Boaters are drifting jumbo minnows over the submerged islands, and the fishing has been pretty good in the main lake. In the O’Neill Forebay, shaker stripers are the rule with ripbaits, Rat-L- Traps, or with bait such as jumbo minnows, pile worms, or blood worms. Most of the stripers in the forebay are undersized, but there is the occasional keeper as the water is starting to clear up.”
Trolling has been a bit slower. With the high water, the stripers have moved higher in the water column, sometimes as shallow as 10 feet. The back or mouth of Portuguese Cove along with the opening at Dinosaur Point have been productive locations for trollers.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the trolling bite has been off for the last couple days. “The bright full moon really did a job squashing the overall bite, and the water color was off with more grass in the water than usual-cutting down the visibility from a week before. Water temps are coming up to around the 58 to 62 degree levels, and should be rising each day now. Most guys were getting nothing to maybe one or two smaller fish for a days fishing. They are suspending and pretty spread out and are coming randomly at different depths with no clear overall pattern. I expect it to turn around later this week.”
The inaugural How to Fish Striper Derby will be held at the Basalt Launch Ramp on March 19 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Event organizer Jesus Reyes Silva of JKingslures said, “The entry fee is $35, and the payout will be the top three places.”
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com 905-2954; San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay wind conditions 800-805-4805.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Trout fishing is on the upswing with trollers reporting near limits in the 14.5- to 15-inch range pulling Wedding Rings tipped with nightcrawlers near the surface. Bass fishing is fair with plastics on the bottom, but the lake is warming up between 48 degrees in the mornings to nearly 54 degrees in the afternoons. The swimbait bite should be taking off soon. The lake is at 76 percent. The first bass tournament at the lake will be April 2.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200, webcam www.basslakeca.com
The final section of Kaiser Pass Road at Eastwood closed Dec. 1 and access to Edison and Florence Lakes is limited to snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 24 percent and Florence is at 10 percent. Mammoth Pool is nearly full at 98 percent. The snowpack on top of Kaiser Pass is reported to be at least 19 feet tall, and the opening of the road may be delayed past the normal Memorial Day opener.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee 2 Trout 2
A few second-year kokanee are showing up at Shaver Lake, and the landlocked salmon have been as large as 14 inches. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters will begin his season on April 15, and he said, “These are large kokanee for this time of year, and combined with 3 or 4 rainbow trout, a mixed limit of fish is possible. However, this could be an interesting spring since the lake will be drawn down to 25 percent by May. Following multiple years of drought, we will have now have low lake levels, but there will be ample water to fish during the months before the summer visitors arrive when more water will be needed for the anticipated summer boat traffic. I can’t praise Southern California Edison enough for its plan to safely refill the lake after the heavy runoffs with loads of debris from the upper watershed. The Sierra Marina ramp should have plenty of water for launching at the main ramp during this time before the lake refills.”
Southern California Edison notified all licensees with a boat dock, communal boat dock, community boat dock or marina of the proposed water levels from March through September of this year. Lake levels for the coming months are anticipated at 60 percent in March, 39 percent in April, 25 percent in May, 67 percent in June, 83 percent in July, 99 percent in August and 100 percent in September.
A webcam of the launch ramp and parking lot is available at www.sierramarina.com/camera.html. Trophy trout plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will occur within the upcoming months.
The lake is dropping steadily at 57 percent with Huntington also dropping at 32 percent and frozen over.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The gates on McKinley Grove Road are closed, and there is no vehicle access to Wishon or Courtright until the gates reopen in the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Striper 2 Crabs 3
Dungeness crab and sand dab combination trips are still a possibility until the rockfish season opens below Pigeon Point on April 1 and in local waters on April 15.
The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the New Captain Pete, and the Huli Cat are all willing to run the 18 miles to Pigeon Point for the opening two week of April given enough passengers to make the trip worthwhile. Depth regulations have been increased to 300 feet below Pigeon Point and to 340 feet above Pigeon Point. One canary rockfish will be included in a 10-fish limit, and the ling cod limit has been lowered to two lings, both changes for the upcoming season. Mattusch is taking a canary rockfish research trip to the reefs near the Farallon Islands on Wednesday, and the data from these research trips have been used to adjust rockfish limits.
Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook in Pacifica reported good action for crab off of the pier with squid or anchovies in the snares. They continue to order the custom snares since the demand has been high. He only knew of one striped bass landed from the shoreline this week, and this fish came under the South Tower of the Golden Gate. Surf perch action is good from the pier with neon Sabiki rigs or prawns. Blood and pile worms have been scarce.
Call: Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing 510-654-6040
Striper 2 Crabs 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips said, “The weather just couldn’t be better here on Sunday, but we had a bit of wind in the afternoon on Sunday. Crabbing continues to be solid with the Caroline returning with 97 Dungeness for 18 anglers along with 720 sand dabs on Sunday while the Check Mate scored 600 dabs and 70 crab for 18 passengers. The Check Mate went out on Saturday for 70 crab and 300 sand dabs for 13 anglers. We have trips for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.”
The 13th annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby was held Saturday out of Santa Cruz with 300 participants. This year’s “Most Exotic Catch” was the largest fish ever weighed in during the 13 years of the event with a 17.2-pound striped bass landed by longtime Sand Crab Classic supporter Ron Martin. He was fishing for perch off Manresa Beach with a #4 hook and a grub when he hooked the striper, and since he was using 10-pound test, it took him a good 10 to 15 minutes to get the fish to the sand.
Call: Chris’ Landing 831-375-5951; Bayside Marine 831-475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 3 Crab 2
Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters has been experiencing success for sturgeon on his last few trips, and he said, “We went up into the Napa River, but there was plenty of wood and debris there. I have been finding success near the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, and we caught and released a 66-incher on Sunday afternoon on a Loch Lomond ghost and mud shrimp combination. This oversized fish cleared the water by at least 4 feet in 17 feet of water. There have been some good scores west of the bridge with the Bass Tub picking up three legal sturgeon on Saturday on their first sturgeon trip of the season.”
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle is happy that more bait is arriving on Monday morning since they sold out of ghost shrimp on both Saturday and Sunday. He said, “We have ghost shrimp coming in, and maybe some mud shrimp. The tides and the water are good, and the fishing below the bridge into Paradise has been excellent. Captain Armand Castanga of the Imagine was out on Friday, and he reported the best sturgeon action in the past 15 years while fishing within a mile of the Pumphouse. They hooked 9 sturgeon, landing 6 with two oversized at 6.5 and 5.5 feet, 2 in the slot, and 2 shakers along with another slot-limit fish lost at the boat. They took out 3 dozen live ghost shrimp and 3 bags of frozen mud shrimp, and all of the fish were hooked on the mud shrimp.”
In the south bay, Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle reported sturgeon are still coming out of the sloughs, and they are selling sturgeon bait, but most anglers are keeping quiet.
Bay Tackle in El Cerrito reported, “Striped bass are running off of our shorelines, particularly on the outgoing tide. Anglers are throwing Slab Zone swimbaits for the linesides, and although they are mostly shakers, there are some legal fish in the mix. There have been several boats trolling behind Brooks Island over the past few days. ” John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing is an expert troller for halibut, and he provided this tidbit of information: “There are resident halibut in the bay, and as the water continues to blue up, it should be good for a month. This will dry up until the bait moves back into the bay later in the spring and summer.”
March 18 is Emeryville’s “Day on the Bay” free family event in the marina from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish season reopens April 1.
Call: Virg’s Landing, 805-772-1222, 800-762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing 805-595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch 805-595-7214
Bass 2 Striper 2 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The Sacramento-Delta seems to have broken out for sturgeon in Suisun Bay, and striped bass are making a push into the Delta. It is only a matter of time before stripers take over sturgeon as the top species targeted, but for the meantime, sturgeon are still king.
Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “Friday and Saturday were tough, but we have been averaging one or two fish per day by sticking it out. There are so many sturgeon coming through, and it is easy to find fish but getting them to bite is another story. I think we finally turned the corner on Sunday as within 30 minutes of setting anchor, we released a 78-inch oversized sturgeon above the Fleet. I have been tempted to head into San Pablo Bay, but there are so many fish in our area, there is no reason to head down there. I even set anchor right outside the harbor since there were sturgeon on the meter within sight of the entrance. The water is clearing up, and the floating debris is concentrated on the south side of the channel with hydrilla and weeds. The water temperature has risen 6 degrees within the past week, and the bites are a lot snappier. Today’s oversized fought really hard in the 56-degree water, and everything has been on lamprey eel. Stripers are moving through, and I just wished we had some bullheads as I metered a school of stripers in 62 feet of water, and there must have been 25 fish in the school. Jay Lopes of Right Hook had a client land a 13-pound striper on Saturday above the Mothball Fleet so there are moving through.”
Sturgeon activity is centering around the Mothball Fleet, and John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing out of Martinez had a stellar day on Wednesday with 3 slot limit sturgeon with one on eel and two on roe fishing in the Horseshoe between Buoy 4 and Garnet Point.
Rio Vista Bait and Tackle reported dirty water remains in the Sacramento River, but the Rio Vista City Ramp is now open as well as Brannan Island State Park.
Steffen Masters of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle at McAvoy’s Boat Harbor said, “The sturgeon bite has been very consistent around the Yellow Can and the Middle Grounds with ghost shrimp, and we have also seen stripers to 34 inches. Erik Birkland landed a 55-inch sturgeon near Pittsburg on ghost shrimp.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “We have been busy all weekend long as we are one of the only shops with live ghost shrimp. We sold out on Saturday, only to reboot on Sunday with more bait. The good weather is bringing out the fishermen, and some are buying 4 and 5 dozen ghost shrimp to distribute to their friends. Most boat traffic has been focused around the Mothball Fleet, and there were plenty of boats out there on both Saturday and Sunday. Small stripers are starting to show up under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge, and the water is clearing up.”
In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “The launch ramps in our area remain closed, but bank fishermen are scoring sturgeon with lamprey eel with either pile worms or nightcrawlers near the Freeport or Courtland Bridges. Striped bass are starting to show up, and sardines coated with garlic spray is working best for the linesides. Largemouth bass are in Steamboat Slough near Hogback Launch Ramp with Senkos or live crawdads.”
Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “We fished the north Delta this week and found some good action although there is still a lot of muddy water.”
The Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby has been rescheduled for March 25-26 out of Pittsburg Harbor with the NorCal Fish Whisperers Striped Bass Derby out of Brannan Island on April 1.
The San Joaquin-Delta is poised to break out for largemouth bass as the water continues to warm and clear up, and a limit in excess of 30 pounds took first place during Saturday’s California Team Tournament Trail out of Russo’s Marina.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley is preparing for his first tournament of the season this Saturday out of Big Break, and he said, “We are about a week away, but the black bass bite is ready to bust wide open. I have been working 6-inch custom Senkos in black/blue laminate in the shallows, and my wife Sandi landed three bass within 15 minutes in 2 to 3 feet of water in Frank’s Tract. The water visibility is 18 inches in Frank’s, and the temperature is a solid 59 degrees. Vibrating baits are also working even though the full moon has some effect on the bite. I expect things to be outstanding for our tournament next week.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento went to the east Delta twice within the past week, and he said, “We still aren’t landing a lot of bass, but they have been quality fish to 8 pounds. I am still flipping Sweet Beavers or Missile’s D-Bombs, but I will be changing quickly over to spinnerbaits and crankbaits as the water continues to clear. The water temperature out of Honker Cut starts off at 54 degrees before rising to 58 degrees in the afternoons, and the visibility has improved to 2 feet.”
Kris Huff of Stockton landed a 10.36-pound largemouth bass on a spinnerbait in 3 feet of water on Saturday, although he said, “The bite was tough for us, but the next two weeks we are going to see some giant weights.”
Steve Johnson of H and R Bait in Stockton said, “The water is clearing up, and some decent stripers are showing up in the Middle River with live bluegill or jumbo shiners. There must be a solid crappie bite in the south Delta since we are selling plenty of small to medium minnows for the slabs.”
The closures on the San Joaquin River have been modified to allow a 5 mph speed restriction in several section of the Old River, Midldle River and in Mildred Island two hours before high tide through two hours after posted high tide. Specific restrictions are available at www.sjgov.org/department/oes/pdf/Delta-Water-Closures-3.pdf.
Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing 916-806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing 707-655-6736
Bass 2 White bass 1 Striper 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lake Nacimiento is still plagued by dirty water and debris, but the lake is starting to clear up quickly. The lake held at 89 percent this past week, and the bass bite is starting to take off with jigs, creature baits or plastics on the drop-shot or Carolina-rig. The amount of acreage that hasn’t been flooded for years will open up new opportunities for both food and cover for the lake’s fish species. A tremendous spring spotted bass bite is anticipated along with the summer arrival of a wide-open white bass bite.
San Antonio continues to rise with most of its inflow remaining behind the dam, and it is currently at 51 percent. The lake may be opened on a part-time basis in late April or early May before opening full time around Memorial Day. At Lopez, the lake is over 60 percent, and the rising water has brought out debris throughout the lake particularly along the shorelines. Bass fishing is fair with jigs, plastics, or spoons in deep water. Panfish are starting to get active with red worms.
At Santa Margarita, the lake is open to boaters with the high water levels. Bass fishing is fair with a reaction bite with chatterbaits or crankbaits in the early mornings before working the bottom with plastics or jigs. Mackerel or similar cut baits are the best options for catfish.
Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp are subject to safe-eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com 805-466-6557
- American Bass Association on March 11 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1, Greg and Ryan Troughton, 25.67 (big fish 8.39); 2, Larry Vignolo and Ron Berg, 21.90; 3, Kirk Sakamoto and Keith Friesen, 14.46.
- California Delta Team Trail March 11 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Harvey Pulliam and Jamond Andrews, 30.35 (big fish 7.66); 2, Mike Andrews and Phillip Dutra, 23.96; 3, Ken Schmitt and Don Whitney, 23.38.
- Kerman Bass Club Team Tournament March 11 at Don Pedro: 1, Ed and Cory Kerber, 16.31; 2, Jeff Farmer and John Horton, 16.04; 3, Darrel and Brandon Graham, 14.03 (big fish 4.64).
- River Rats Bass Club March 11 at Don Pedro: 1, Larry Llanes and David Tobler, 22.80 (big fish 7.57); 2, Steve Clover and Dennis Hamman, 17.45; 3, Tracy and Ray Patton, 14.91.
- California Tournament Trail March 11 at Success: 1, Jeff D’Alessandro, 17.63 (big fish 4.5); 2, Ryan Reynolds and Craig Gong, 15.01; 3, Gary Wasson and Daniel Moreno, 13.1.
- Christian Bass League Tournament on March 11 at Lake Tulloch (35 anglers, 18 boats, 82 fish, 181.40 pounds): 1, Jim and Chad Oliver 14.62; 2, Dave Meeks and Bruce Fetzer 13.70; 3, Jonathan Whitesett and Dale Lanza 12.92; big fish, Dave and Colton Bickle 4.96.
- Kerman Bass Club Individual March 12 at Don Pedro: 1, Cory Kerber, 18.66 (big fish 4.45); 2, James Horton, 11.86; 3, Ross Aoki, 10.56.
- March 18: Dan’s Delta Team Tournament Trail at Delta/Big Break Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Manteca Bassin’Buddies at Camanche; California Bass Nation/El Dorado Bass at New Melones; Best Bass Tournaments at McClure; Taft Bass Club at Millerton; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers at Lopez
- March 19: Bass N’Tubes/Yak A’ Bass at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Central Valley Anglers Team Trout Derby at Camanche; California Bass Federation/Modesto Ambassadors at Don Pedro; Kings River Bass Club at Eastman; Porterville Bass Club at Success
- March 25: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Delta Team Trail at Delta/B and W Resort; Contra Costa Bass Club at Don Pedro; Golden Empire Bass Club at Pine Flat; American Bass Association at Success; Best Bass Tournaments at Nacimiento
- March 25-26: Sierra Bass Club at Don Pedro
- March 26: California Bass Federation at Don Pedro; Valley Hawg Hunters at Tulloch; Fresno Bass Club at Don Pedro
- March 31-April 1: Southern California Bass Club at Don Pedro
- April 1: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Nor Cal Fish Whispers Striped Bass Tournament at Delta/Brannan Island; Stanislaus County Employees at Don Pedro; Mid Valley Bass Club at Eastman; American Bass Association at Lopez
- April 2: California Bass Federation at Bass Lake; Success Bass Club at Kaweah
Week of March 19
- Fresno County: Woodward Park, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
- Madera County: Bass Lake; Corrine Lake, Manzanita Lake